How to Find Impact Factor and Ranking for a Journal


What’s the ranking of journal X? This is a question that rises for most research students. They often hear that the requirement for their graduation is publishing a paper in Q1 journals. This article shows you how to find the impact factor and ranking of a journal. Specifically, we are talking about Web of Science and Scopus databases. If you are not familiar with these databases, please refer to this article.

Usually, journals mention their impact factor on their website. But, it’s more accurate to check the Web of Science or Scopus. Plus, you get lots of information than just the impact factor in the Web of Science or Scopus.

Ranking in The Web of Science

Let’s start with the Web of Science database. In order to access the database, you need to have an account. Most likely, your institution gives you such access. You need to connect to the database using your institution’s IP address, either from inside the institute or using a VPN service that gives you your institution’s IP address.

The Web of Science has many services. One of them is called InCites Journal Citation Reports or JCR ranking, which is the one we’re going to use. You can access it here. Figure 1 shows the home page of JCR.


Figure 1. Web of Science Journal Citation Reports

We assume that you have the name of the journal you want to search. Here, we consider “Scientometrics” journal as an example. As you start typing, suggestions appear for you. Find the journal you’re looking for and select it. If the journal doesn’t appear, that means it’s not indexed in the Web of Science. Be careful of the leading and trailing spaces, since that affects the suggestions. It is also possible to type a keyword, for example “physics” and see list of journals containing that keyword. It’s a good option if you’re looking for a targeted journal. In the next page, you see the results as shown in Figure 2.


Figure 2. Web of Science Results Page

You need to scroll down in the results page and you can see the impact factor on the left. In our case, it’s 2.867, as of July 2020. The citation reports get updated every year around June. So, it’s not a constant number. Same is true for the journal ranking. Based on the journal’s performance, the ranking changes.

Let’s continue.

Scroll down to the bottom and find rank and click it. This gives you the ranking of the journal in various domains. Figure 3 shows the ranking of the “Scientometrics” journal.


Figure 3. Finding the Journal Ranking

You can also see journal’s ranking in previous years. In my experience, if the journal’s ranking is Q1 in one domain, and Q2 in another domain, the higher one is selected. It may be different in your institution. So, it is better to ask your supervisor about the difference in ranking. In addition to the impact factor and ranking, there are lots of information in this page. Discussing this information is out of scope of this article. You can ask your supervisor for details.

Ranking in The SCOPUS

Let’s jump to Scopus. Checking the journal’s information is simpler in Scopus. You don’t need to have an account, or access it through your institution. You can browse to this page and start searching for a Scopus journal. It’s also called Scimago journal ranking. Figure 4 shows the start page. This page also includes top journals that you can go through.


Figure 4. Scopus Journal Search

Let’s search for the “Journal of Finance”. Scopus doesn’t offer suggestions-as-you-type feature, like Web of Science. Figure 5 shows the results of our search.


Figure 5. Results of Scopus

The results show all the journals having the keywords you typed in the search box. Be careful to choose the right one. We see in Figure 5 that the journal we’re looking for is the first result. Clicking the journal name takes you to the next page, as shown in Figure 6.


Figure 6. Journal Information in Scopus

Scopus stopped using impact factor in 2017. Instead, it mentions CiteScore. You can read more about this metric on Scopus web site. To find the ranking of the journal, you can scroll down and you see Q1 as ranking, in case of the Journal of Finance. In the quartiles section, you can find details of journal’s ranking in different domains in the past years.

In addition to Web of Science and Scopus, some institutions follow ABDC database. You can google “ABDC journal list” and find the list and download it. Inside the file, you will find the information on the journal’s ranking.

That’s it for this article. I hope it helped you find the ranking and other information on journals. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Also, if you are doing research, we have a useful checklist that you can get for FREE on our home page.

Thanks for reading.

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